You likely won’t see any action figures or lunch boxes inspired by the films at the first annual Miami International Children’s Film Festival. It’s not your typical Hollywood fare.
And that’s exactly the way organizers designed it.
The festival, which runs from Oct. 25-27 at the Coral Gables Art Cinema, is bringing in “art house” shorts and full-length features for kids from around the world, including Uruguay’s official Academy Award entry for Best Foreign Film this year, said Robert Rosenberg, director of the Coral Gables Art Cinema.
“These are films of high artistic value, that are not your typical commercial big animation or live action film,” Rosenberg said. “They are made by filmmakers who have a vision they want to realize on the screen and who want to speak to kids and families with their message.”
The line-up includes the Florida premiere of eight films, and a showcase of international films from France, China, Italy and Japan, among others. The films range in length from five-minute shorts to two-hour features. Tickets for each showing at the 141-seat venue are $11.50, general admission; $7.50, Gables Cinema members; $9.50, ages 65 and older with I.D.; and $6.50, 12 and younger.
Opening night includes a party and is $20 for adults, $10 for kids. It features the Florida premiere of “AninA,” and a question-and-answer session with Alfredo Soderguit, the film’s director. AninA is Uraguay’s selection to send to the Oscars this year.
Rosenberg said they worked in partnership with the New York International Children’s Film Festival, the largest of its kind in the U.S., to choose the films, tweaking the line-up for a Miami audience.
Midge Blumberg-Krams, volunteer coordinator of Children’s and Family Programming for the Coral Gables Art Cinema, watched all the films except one during the selection process.
“I looked for the highest quality of animation and production, as well as movies that would expose and educate our kids about different cultures,” Blumberg-Krams said. “Most of the films have a moral or some educational component, in addition to being very entertaining.”
There are also several films in Spanish and Portuguese, with English subtitles, which are geared to Miami’s unique audience.
“All children need to feel proud of their heritage, and bringing Spanish and Portuguese language films to our art cinema is a perfect way to encourage respect for each other’s culture,” Blumberg-Krams said.
The Florida premiere of Magic Piano 3D, a silent film normally accompanied by a musical soundtrack of mostly Chopin music, will instead be accompanied by a live piano player. “That’s really a highlight, because most kids have never had a chance to see that kind of film presentation, with live music,” Rosenberg said.
Rosenberg said a lot of adult patrons have asked about films for children, and are interested in films that are artistic and non-commercial. There also will be two stop-motion animation workshops, where kids will get hands-on experience.
“It’s a chance to expose them to an art form as an art form,” he said. “The value is kids get exposed to non-traditional animation styles from around the world.”
The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation is the festival’s primary sponsor. Also collaborating with the festival are Books & Books, the Coral Gables Museum, JohnMartin’s Irish Pub & Restaurant, the Florida Film Institute and Miami-Dade Public Schools.
Tickets are available at www.movietickets.com or at the Coral Gables Art Cinema box office during regular film screening hours. For information, visit www.gablescinema.com or call 786- 385-9689. The Coral Gables Art Cinema is at 260 Aragon Ave., across the street from Books & Books.